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Knoxville on the road to ‘bike-friendly’

Wendy Smith
Features columnist

Last week, Knoxville, along with 356 other communities in the country, received the Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award from the League of American Bicyclists. This is the second time the city has been recognized for its bike lanes, designated bike routes and encouragement to bike through education and events, says Knoxville Alternative Transportation Coordinator Jon Livengood.

While difficult to achieve, bronze is the lowest level awarded by the league, so there is room for improvement, he says.

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Big changes for Hwy 61 in Luttrell

Libby Morgan
Features Columnist

TDOT brought a big presentation to the Luttrell Community Center, and a big crowd showed up to learn about plans to make Highway 61 safer through their city.

TDOT official Steve Allen says, “Several years ago, (Mayor Johnny) Merritt and a few other folks came to Nashville and met with us about this road. The mayor left an impression on the commissioner (John Schroer), who said Merritt was very genuine. At the end of the meeting, the commissioner turned to me and said, ‘Steve, I want you to go up there and see what you can do to help them.’

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The hypocritical swan

Lynn Pitts
Faith Columnist

But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, the ossifrage, the ospray, the glede, the kite, the vulture after his kind, every raven after his kind, the owl, the night hawk, the cuckow, the hawk after his kind, the little owl, the great owl, the swan, the pelican, the gier eagle, the cormorant, the stork, the heron after her kind, the lapwing, and the bat.

(Leviticus 11: 13-19 KJV)

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Harris TV remarks tick off teachers

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

It took Lauren Hopson almost no time to respond to Doug Harris’ remarks on WBIR TV’s “Inside Tennessee” Sunday.

Harris and board chair Mike McMillan were on the morning show with John Becker. By 1 p.m., Hopson had posted an eight-point summary of his remarks on the SPEAK (Students, Parents, Educators Across Knox County) Facebook page. Within a half hour, her post had drawn 25 responses. By 4 p.m., there were 54 – none of them happy with Harris.

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Vanderbilt is disaster zone

Marvin West

How intriguing that Vanderbilt, the center of football ineptness, will determine whether this Tennessee season is a modest success or another sad failure.

What Saturday comes down to is this: If the Vols can’t whip the lowly Commodores, they’ll be saddled with another losing record – five in a row. They’ll be home again for the holidays, twiddling their thumbs while winners accumulate bowl gifts and enjoy plum pudding.

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Questions remain as 2nd Presbyterian moves toward split

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

The schism at Second Presbyterian Church, where part of the congregation has opted to leave the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA) and follow Senior Pastor Bryan Wilson to a new church that will be part of the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO), is part of a national movement that has pitted traditionalists against the PCUSA over social issues, including same-sex marriage.

PCUSA has left decisions in these matters up to the discretion of individual congregations.

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Giving thanks, the American way

Larry Van Guilder
Government/Politics columnist

Starving 17th-century pilgrims would hardly recognize today’s Thanksgiving, now known to Native Americans as “What Were We Thinking Day,” when many celebrate by joyfully pummeling one another as they wrestle for the last Playstation 4 on the shelves of Best Buy at 6 a.m.

But Americans have kept the natives’ giving tradition alive. Walmart, Target, Sears, Macy’s and Big Lots, to name a few, thoughtfully give their employees additional hours on Thanksgiving to earn money they will be too tired to spend before Christmas.

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Tennova approved

The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency has approved Tennova Healthcare’s application for a Certificate of Need to build a 272-bed hospital on Middlebrook Pike in Knoxville. The new facility will replace the existing Physicians Regional Medical Center on East Oak Hill Avenue.